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Sandra Day O'Connor 1930–
First Female Supreme Court Justice

Sandra Day O'Connor has found success throughout her life by refusing to give up. When O'Connor finished law school in 1952, women were not always treated the same as men. She knew she could be an excellent lawyer, but no law firms would hire her because she was a woman. O'Connor refused to accept a job as a secretary. Instead, she began working as a lawyer for the county of San Mateo in California. When private firms still would not hire her a few years later, she started her own law practice.

In 1969, O'Connor was elected to the Arizona Senate. She became majority leader in the state senate only 3 years later. As the majority leader, O'Connor led the Republican members of the state senate. O'Connor was the first woman in the country to hold this position.

In 1981, O'Connor was named to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court makes sure that laws agree with the United States Constitution. In joining the Supreme Court, O'Connor became the first woman ever to serve on the most powerful court in the country. O'Connor and the other 8 members of the Supreme Court continue to make decisions about important issues.

Comprehension Check

What did Sandra Day O'Connor do when she first finished law school?

Critical Thinking

Why is it important to know who Sandra Day O'Connor is?